The value of checking a link profile for lost links

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With so many different variables in play when working on SEO and no easy and direct way of accurately pin pointing why a keyword has increased or decreased on Google’s SERPs, it often comes down to a process of elimination.  If you’re concerned about a drop in rank for your website, the first thing we’d suggest is to check for lost links.

Example of Lost Links using Majestic SEO

Example of Lost Links using Majestic SEO

Why has my website suddenly lost rank?

When a prized keyword suddenly drops rank for no apparent reason it can be worrying for the website owner.

It is easy to get caught up in the panic of a sudden drop.  A lot of time can be wasted looking for duplication which isn’t there or checking for spammy links that don’t exist.

An all too common and worrying scenario is where the Google Disavow Tool is brought into use for suspected spammy links even though they are perfectly fine. This would inadvertently lose the website even more page and domain authority by having them discounted. So, our advice is, if your keyword severely drops rank all of a sudden, keep calm and first check for lost links, or get your SEO Consultant to do so.

Keeping track of valuable links

When managing an SEO campaign it is key to know which back links are actually making the website tick.  If you have been building your back link profile over a long period of time for a particular website you may have noticed particular links that have had an instant knock on effect.  This is obviously a little more difficult if you are new to the campaign.  However, it is still something that can easily be obtained through detailed analysis.

Majestic SEO new and lost back link tool

Using a tool like Majestic SEO (or a similar tool) is a good way to keep track of new and old links obtained or lost by your website.  Be sure to check both the fresh and historical indexes when searching as they will have different results for each.

Example of New Links using Majestic SEO

Example of New Links using Majestic SEO

Has the website lost any bulk or valuable links?

When using this tool there are several key things to keep an eye out for:

1 – Number of links lost vs new links

If there has been a significant number of links lost in recent months and not a lot of new links gained then this might be a key explanation to a loss in rank as the overall page and domain authority may have dropped due to the loss of links, which in turn would have a knock on effect on rank.

2 – Any valuable links lost?

Be sure to be meticulous checking your lost links.  If there are a lot of links lost from a single domain, a single high value link from a different domain may go unnoticed.

3 – Reason for losing links

Keep an eye on the reason given for why the link was lost (Majestic SEO will list these).  Quite often links are removed over time or set to no follow.  However, a lot of these links can be lost temporarily due to simply being moved to another page or if the website was down at the time of the previous cache.   In this case the rank may be restored after the next cache.

Retrieving lost links

If a link has been removed the best thing to do is to get in touch with the owner of the website and ask for a reason why and if it can be reinstated.  Quite often with old directory links it can sometimes be the case that the subscription was not set to auto renew or the accounts credit card details have changed over the years.  In other cases websites may have had a redesign and the link might have been lost during the switchover.

Preventing the impact of lost links

The best method of preventing the impact of lost links is to continue to link build.  Even when you are ranking in the top positions in Google your back link profile will become stale and out of date over time.  If you are reliant on other websites backlinks and if something happens to those websites, you are leaving yourself in a vulnerable position and the less high value links you have the bigger the impact when these are lost.

If you’re concerned about a drop in rank or organic traffic for your website, feel free to get in touch and we can put together an audit for you and work with you to get your site back on track.

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